The Unabomber Manifesto, Part 3: Social Problems

Industrial Society and its Future, Cont’d

The following continues a condensed summary of the Unabomber Manifesto: Industrial Society and its Future.  The ideas, below, are Kaczynski’s.  The headings and numbers are his.   This is no endorsement of violence or anarchy. The document is presented in parts.  Previous parts include:

Sources of Social Problems
  1. All societies suffer social and psychological problems.  Modern society suffers more than primitive societies did.
  2. We suffer more because modern society is radically different from our evolutionary conditions.  Modern society denies us autonomy and empowerment.  There are other reasons, too.
  3. Humanity evolved in small communities (family, tribe, village) unlike modern society.  We live in dense populations, apart from nature.  We suffer more rapid social change.
  4. Crowding increases stress and aggression.  Industrial society enabled population growth.  Densely populated urban centers replaced rural societies.  Disruptive technologies destroyed peace and quiet.
  5. Industrial society robbed us of the security of a relatively stable natural world.  It gave us insecurity and a rapidly changing technological world.
  6. Conservatives are fools.  They want the benefits of rapidly changing technology and economies without the costs (societal impacts and inevitable breakdown in traditional values).
  7. Industrial society erodes traditional values.  It undermines family and community bonds (small groups).  It demands our highest loyalty, at the expense of small groups.
  8. Industrial society tolerates only small groups that serve its ends.  Personal loyalties (family, community) are inefficient (nepotism, favoritism).
  9. Crowding, rapid change, and community breakdown cause social problems but don’t explain the extent of our problems.
  10. Crowding doesn’t seem the decisive factor.  Uncrowded rural areas suffer similar problems to urban areas, just less so.
  11. American frontier expansion also broke down families and small groups.  Many families lived in isolation, with little or no community.  They seemed to suffer fewer psychological problems.
  12. American frontier society changed rapidly and deeply.  People went from lawlessness and a rugged struggle for survival to lawful, orderly communities and regular jobs. Change was deeper, then.  But they enjoyed more optimism and self-confidence and seemed to suffer fewer psychological problems.
  13. The difference is autonomy.  The pioneers chose their land and made farms through their effort.  Small groups built communities (of dubious value).  They satisfied the power process.
  14. Disruption of the power process is the most important cause of modern problems. Other societies had fewer problems, while rapidly changing or lacking community.  All societies disrupt the power process to some extent. Our problem is worse.  Modern leftism is part of this problem.
Disruption of the Power Process in Modern Society
  1. Human drives fall into three groups, those that require: (1) minimal effort, (2) serious effort, or (3) unlimited effort (are out of our control). The power process satisfies the second group (serious effort). The third group (out of our control) feeds frustration, anger, defeatism, and depression.
  2. Modern society pushes most natural human drives into group one (minimal effort) and three (out of our control).  Group two (serious effort) is mostly artificial drives.
  3. Primitive societies push survival into group two (serious effort).  Modern society pushes survival into group one (minimal effort) – requiring mere obedience. This poorly serves our power process need.
  4. Modern society mostly pushes social needs (sex, love, status) into group two (serious effort).  For most of us, this doesn’t satisfy the power process need.
  5. Modern society pushes artificial needs into group two (serious effort), using advertising and marketing.  Most of us must satisfy the power process need through artificial needs and surrogate activities.
  6. Most of us suffer a lack of purpose and “fulfillment” because artificial goals and surrogate activities cannot satisfy the power process need.  This must be satisfied through external goals (survival, sex, love, status, revenge, etc.)
  7. Most of us cannot pursue our goals autonomously.  We have no autonomy or limited autonomy, constrained by a complex, regulated system.
  8. Many expect the system to do for them.  They don’t expect to do for themselves. The system defines available opportunities.  The system defines the expertise needed to achieve them.
  9. We feel powerless because we have little control over basic security needs.  Basic security gets pushed into group three (out of our control).  Others are in control (businesses, doctors, regulators).  They decide on jobs, health, safety, and environment.  They act, not us.
  10. We feel less secure than primitive man.  We enjoy more objective security but we are helpless against unknown technological threats (health and environmental hazards, war, economic disruption).
  11. Our threats are man-made, based on by others’ decisions.  Primitive man faced natural threats.  This frustrates, humiliates, and angers us.
  12. Modern security needs fall mostly into group one (minimal effort for food and shelter) and group three (out of our control).
  13. Modern society frustrates most of our natural impulses (anger, aggression).  It limits our activities because functioning industrial society requires rules and regulations.
  14. Modern society regulates those behaviors that are important to it.  It is permissive in matters less important to it (religion, sex).
  15. Industrial society manipulates our behavior.  It uses psychological pressure, including advertising, propaganda, and media manipulation.
  16. We obsess with longevity and youthfulness because our power process need is unfulfilled. “Mid-life crisis” and falling birth rates are part of this.
  17. We are unwilling and unprepared to accept life’s stages because our power process need is unfulfilled.
  18. Some people need opportunities outside of the system.  They could never be satisfied even if it provided adequate opportunities.
How Some People Adjust
  1. Not everybody suffers psychological problems in modern society.
  2. Some have less drive for power.  Some have less power process need.  Some need little autonomy.  Some are content with servitude.
  3. Some have stronger drives for power.  Some never get bored playing the game or climbing the ladder.
  4. Some are the most susceptible to advertising and marketing.  They end up frustrated from chasing after money but never satisfying their craving for new toys.
  5. Some are the least susceptible to advertising and marketing.  They are less interested in money.  For them, material things cannot satisfy the power process need.
  6. Some are in the middle.  They spend serious effort earning money for goods and services.  This serves the power process need but may not satisfy it.  They may lack autonomy or feel frustrated.  (This is oversimplification.  Advertising and marketing do not entirely drive material wants.)
  7. Some satisfy their need for power by identifying with a powerful organization or mass movement.  They adopt its goals and work towards those goals.  Many leftists find this attractive.  It doesn’t satisfy most people.
  8. Work as a surrogate activity threatens individual freedom.  When highly driven people work more than needed to meet their goals, work becomes a surrogate activity.  When scientists and engineers do this, they threaten  our freedom by expanding and perfecting a destructive system.
  9. For most of us, the power process need is unsatisfied.  Most of us are not highly driven, happy with surrogate activities, or strongly identify with movements or groups.  We feel frustrated by lack of autonomy, restricted by rules, or constrained by the system.
  10. Industrial society is demeaning because it denies us real goals and provides only surrogate activities.

Next: Part 4: Science, Freedom, History